I am 36 and a half. I should know better. For the most part, I’d like to think I do. In fact, a large chunk of my life is currently spent in abject frustration that the thing I knew was going to happen (because if you bounce that big football in the house it IS very likely that it’s going to knock over the cup of coffee on the table) DOES in fact happen.
I was slightly dreading my 30th birthday when it started to loom large. Old, I thought. I don’t want to not be in my twenties. I remember distinctly thinking about my life in terms of a newspaper report and how I would now be described as a “30 something mother-of-two”. Terrifying.
And then it happened. I had a fabulous birthday, surrounded by my family and friends, with loads of surprises and a particularly unexpected and expensive present from my lovely husband. The best present of all though, was actually my thirties themselves!
Never have I been happier with where I am, what I am doing and who I am. Because that’s what happens in your thirties. Nothing’s particularly different. I am now a 36 and a half mother-of-two.
I am forever grateful for my gorgeous kids. I am also grateful that I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt (I am literally wearing the t-shirt I wore in hospital for the first one, as I type this...) and I will never again have to argue with my husband about what to name the next one. They wipe their own bums, brush their own teeth (with a lot of nagging) and most excellently, DON’T NEED NAPS ANYMORE.
I am also the fittest and healthiest I have ever been. I haven’t smoked for 10 years and 8 months. I miss it every day, but don’t miss the cost, the smell and the horror of it. I run. I RUN! I am 5 ½ stone lighter than I was 10 years ago. OK...at some points I was 6 ½ stone lighter than I was 10 years ago, but I’m working on that.
The point is, being in my thirties has given me a certain perspective on life that just wasn’t there in my twenties. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have all of the things in my life that I have, and am thankful for them every day. A decade ago...not so much.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t have the kids then and life wasn’t as settled, but I also think it has to do with my attitude. If you think your life stinks – it will. If you focus on the negative aspects of where you’re at, then you will never see how much positive there is around you.
Whilst there are at least 12 occasions on a daily basis where I internally say “I knew THAT was going to happen”, there are still a few lessons that I never seem to learn...
- Intensive Conditioners. What’s that all about? It’s just conditioner, in a smaller bottle, for twice the price of the normal conditioner that you use. And yet...every 6 months to a year I buy one. I then use it once a week for a couple of weeks. It makes NO DIFFERENCE to my hair, apart from making the roots greasy because, even though I know you don’t put conditioner on your roots, that’s what it says in the instructions. Idiot. Stop it.
- Alcohol is bad. M’kay? (Hopefully someone will get the South Park reference there.) It’s my worst remaining vice - alcohol that is, not South Park. Whilst I certainly don’t spend every morning necking paracetamol and hankering after a fried egg sandwich, there are a significant number of days in the month where I feel less than perfect due to overindulging in the demon drink. Is that number more than in my twenties? Probably not. Is it sensible to drink to the point of dancing on tables? Probably not. Will I ever change? Probably not.
- Skirts. They don’t work on me. Not now, not ever. They just don’t. Yet once every 6 months (is there a memory loss pattern going on here?) I am inexplicably drawn to a denim, button-up number. I think to myself – this is the one! This is the skirt that will work. I take it hopefully to the changing rooms, wiggle into it and then...laugh. Laugh out loud. Skirts and me. Nope.
- Hairwashing (see no. 1 for reference) When I was pregnant, the hormones caused a hundred different disturbing side effects – heartburn, cravings for ice, excessive wind (well...it COULD have been the pregnancy...) but the best side effect was how amazing my hair looked. There was a significant amount more of it in places I didn’t necessarily want it, but nevertheless, the glossy, shiny locks on my head were manageable, thick and lustrous. And I only had to wash my hair once every 3 days. It was amazing. I was last pregnant 7 years ago and since then, there has never been a time that I can go more than 2 days without washing it. Maximum. It’s just the way it is now. And yet...sometimes I wake up and think – I wonder if I can get away with it today? I’ll just put some dry shampoo in – it’ll be fine! No. No it won’t. Never again. Don’t kid yourself. You look like one of the heroin addicts in OITNB. Just wash it.
- Staying up late on a school night. Just one more episode of Game of Thrones won’t hurt...will it? *snores quietly into breakfast coffee*
- Cheese. Need I say more?
Will I ever learn? I do hope not.
At least I can rest safe in the knowledge that I will always be right about doing homework when you get it – it’s always better to have tears and shouting on a Friday night when there is a whole weekend of wine in front of you, than on a Monday morning...